“The Shot Heard Round the World” when the American Revolution began on this date 245 years ago in Lexington, MA on April 19th, 1775. This event caused 6,800 Americans to be killed in action, 6,100 were wounded, with tens of thousands more killed due to disease. A fight for our nation’s independence, that brought for the bill of rights, the constitution, that hinged on the very belief that we had inalienable rights, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And in 2020, there are fighting to kill an estimated 465,695 Americans, to save the economy. The economy that has made them jobless time and time again. The economy that has left them unable to provide healthcare for their families. The economy that lets them gamble on whether they may ever retire. The economy that left them homeless in the foreclosure crisis.
At the whim of a feckless president that demands the power and authority of a king.
Farmers around our country are dumping the food they have produced. Not for lack of need, but for lack of packaging. A nation is struggling to remain functional in a crisis, to get food to store, to keep people fed, and importantly at home as much as possible. Farms that typically produce for business-level consumers are unwilling to work within those same chains that they have supplied, to get creative, to keep Americans fed. Too hard. Can’t be done.
To follow in the step of the framer before them and load the trucks and start driving down the road.
Where is our Uber or Lyft style app for farmers? Where is the online farmer’s market? Where is the ability to go back into our history and move our food from farm to table?
From seniors to single moms, and everyone in between. What a life changer that would be, to move back into our past to move food from farm to table, with the added benefit of technology to aid the process. No going door to door, no leaving cash for the milkman, the butcher, the baker, or a local farmer. Paid, electronically. Delivered to your door.
Big businesses have conditioned farmers to sell in bulk, far removed from the consumers whose health and nutrition comes from their labor. And given a taste of what food, without being flown halfway around the world, stored in refrigerated warehouses and moved in trucks while being handled by countless people tastes like. How loyal these customers would be, to put a face and a name to the food that you provide.
Loyalty, gratitude. Fragile but valuable, far beyond prices, far beyond a post-virus future. These relationships would be a return to the very core of human values. The simplest and truest form of economy. That basic level of building block business relationships.
Our government, fighting in this not over how much to help, but over how much they can help the richest among us first, the most, and save the economy. Not the people who make that economy, the workers across our country, but those who rely on the rest to earn their money.
But we are supposed to see ourselves as sacrificial lambs–465,695 of us, should the 0.14% “Did we just talk the economy” numbers are correct—ready to die for business as usual. Not for universal healthcare, not for a universal basic income, not for employee protections, not for anything of consequence, but for the right for the uber rich to keep from seeing their stock portfolios go up in flames while we—not the uber rich, you won’t see them at work for a while—get back to work.
I understand the fear. I understand the fear of a world that has so quickly spun off its axis. Of a world where the future is uncertain, where the pain is incredible. Where we are do not know what to do except to try to go back to what it was. There was fear in 1775 too, and again on April 12, 1861, and spring of 1918 as well. Throughout history we have struggled, faced fear, endured pain, and through that we have reached astonishing heights. And at every turn it was we the people, not they the super-rich, who made the sacrifices, who bore the brunt of fear, who endured the pain.
We, we the people, we did that.
This is not a time to hide in fear in positions of powerlessness, to run to the security blanket of authoritarian regime. It is time to fight for our lives. Not just to protect our health here and now in a pandemic, but to also look past the current health crisis and take stock of what we have for so long-lost sight of. All men, and women, created equal, the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
Do you really feel running back to business as usual honors all the sacrifice that came before you?